CRESTVIEW — Community leader Velma Conyers died Sept. 30. She was 104 years old.
Services include a 5-7 p.m. viewing Oct. 5 at McKinnie Funeral Home, 398 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave., Crestview, and the funeral, which is 11 a.m. at Mount Zion AME Church, 502 McDonald St., Crestview.
"She's always been a joy to be around," her son-in-law, Malcolm Haynes of Crestview, said. "I've known her for over half her life and through all those years she really hasn't changed, as far as her spirit and commitment to the people of her community and her family."
Conyers worked in the lunchroom at Carver-Hill School, which was a segregated school for African-American children, until the late 1960s.
"Many people tell us if she hadn't been there, they wouldn't have eaten that day. She would see that they got fed if they couldn't afford it," Haynes said.
She and her husband, James Robert Lee Conyers, also served through the Crestview Masonic Lodge, in his case, and Order of the Eastern Star, in hers. Conyers joined the lodge when she was 18 years old, and was its Worthy Matron for 45 years. The lodge was the center of community support for black Americans over the years, and the whole of Crestview today, through such services as the annual No Child Without Healthcare Fair.
When asked what she enjoyed most, Haynes said, "She really enjoyed her church. And she enjoyed fishing and she just loved to be around her grandchildren. We can be sorry, but you have to know she lived a great life.
"The reason she was blessed [was] she really lived (what she believed in). She said, 'I don't hate nobody,' and she really lived up to that."